Returning from the ECHL’s Christmas vacation, the Indy Fuel had no problem playing the role 0f Grinch in a Boxing Day showdown in Quad City.
Indy was its usually-stingy self in its own end, allowing only a first-period power play goal, and the Fuel offense came through with some timely scoring, tallying three third-period goals in a 4-1 victory over the division-leading Mallards Saturday in Moline, Ill.
The two teams play the second half of their holiday home-and-home at 3:05 p.m. Sunday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Indy is now 12-15-2, having won its second game in its last three outings. The Fuel became just the third team to beat the Mallards in regulation at home. QC is now 11-3-1 in the iWireless Center.
Right wing Peter Schneider scored twice, including an empty-netter that helped seal the game, defenseman Zach Miskovic tallied the game-winner early in the third, and Rhett Bly had a key insurance goal. Mac Carruth made 20 saves in the Fuel net.
Indy dominated the game, outshooting the hosts 42-21.
The Fuel drew two early power plays, the second coming to Kyle Follmer. Twenty-two seconds into the minor, Nick Mattson cranked a shot from the left point that Schneider tipped past Quad City netminder Brody Hoffman and into the net to give Indy a 1-0 lead.
Quad City answered on its first power play, with winger Matt Carey scoring his third goal of the season with 3:39 left in the opening period.
Indy had a number of great chances in the second, but none beat Hoffman, who made 16 saves in the first and 13 in the second period.
In the third, the Fuel killed off an early penalty to Alex Lavoie, then took the lead 6:39 in. Miskovic blasted a shot from the right point that found the net for his fourth tally of the year, and most importantly, giving Indy a 2-1 lead.
With 3:12 left, Kyle Stroh cycled the puck to Rhett Bly along the right half-wall, whose quick wrister put the Fuel up 3-1 and give Indy a cushion that Schneider sealed in the final seconds.
- Zach Miskovic (Fuel) GWG, A, +3
- Peter Schneider (Fuel) 2G, 6 shots, +2
- Brody Hoffman (QC) 38 saves
- The Fuel have found goal scoring in recent games. Tonight marked their third straight game scoring at least three goals. It was their first four-goal game since a 5-2 win over Quad City on Nov. 7, a 16-game span. The Fuel also scored three goals in a period for the second straight game – they had three in the second period of Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Toledo.
- Three different Indy players had multi-point games – Peter Schneider (2G), Zach Miskovic (G, A) and Nick Mattson (2A). Mattson and Miskovic were also both +3 on the game.
- Miskovic, who said on Sunday that he considers getting points as a bonus, given his role as a defenseman, has now potted consecutive two-point games. The captain is also +6 in the last three games.
- Schneider had his first two-goal game as a pro, scoring the 10th and 11th goals of his young career. It was his second multi-point game this season – he had a goal and an assist Nov. 21 against Quad City. Since coming back from a three-week layoff due to injury, he has made an impact, with three goals, a +4 rating and an average of five shots a game over the last five games.
- Seeing Mattson set up Schneider for the first goal brought back some great memories of the duo, who were high-scoring teammates in junior with the Indiana Ice. Mattson, a former USHL Defenseman of the Year with the Ice, had his first multi-point game as a pro. He has three assists and a +5 rating in the last three games, and six assists overall this season.
- Bly has also had a hot stick of late, scoring a goal in his second straight game. He has four of his seven goals this season in December.
- Matt White snapped a 14-game scoreless streak with the primary assist on Miskovic’s goal. He was also +2 tonight, as were his linemates Derek Roehl and Schneider. Anders Franzon also snapped a 14-game scoreless streak with an assist on Schneider’s first goal. He has four assists this season.
- The line of Alex Lavoie-Kyle Stroh-Rhett Bly contributed a goal, but also 14 shots on goal – Stroh and Bly had six each. Schneider and defenseman Ben Marshall also had six shots each to lead the team’s 42-shot attack.
- The Fuel’s defense has been solid, but this game marked the fifth time this season the Fuel have held an opponent to one or fewer goals this season – and the second time in three games. Carruth has backstopped three one-goal games and also has the team’s lone shutout this season. Tonight marked a season-low in shots faced a Fuel goaltender, as Carruth faced 21 shots. In his last three outings, Carruth has a .959 save percentage and a 1.29 GAA.
- There were a handful of roster moves before the game. Forward Daniel Ciampini was called up to AHL Rockford earlier in the week, and forward Tim Hall was returned to SPHL Peoria on Saturday. Also, Dylan Clarke was placed on reserve Saturday and Garett Bembridge activated after missing two games.
- Indy was 1-3 on the PP and is now 3-9 in its last two games. The Fuel were 1-2 on the PK.
- Indy is now 1-1-1 in games played at Quad City, and 3-1-1 overall against the Mallards this season. The teams have five games remaining – three in Indy, two in Moline.
Indy iced nine forwards and seven defensemen for the game.
Alex Lavoie-Kyle Stroh-Rhett Bly
Cody Sharib-Josh Brittain-Garett Bembridge
Derek Roehl-Matt White-Peter Schneider
Kevin Quick-Ben Marshall
Nick Mattson-Zach Miskovic
Sam Jardine-Anders Franzon
BU: Shane Owen
Scratches: Dylan Clarke (res), Dillon Fournier (IR)
Next up: The Fuel and Mallards meet again at 3:05 p.m. Sunday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. It kicks off a busy stretch for the Fuel, which includes games Tuesday in Cincy, Thursday in Fort Wayne, and back home Friday and Saturday to face Fort Wayne and Wichita, respectively.